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Osun: INEC tackles vote-buying, bars phones at polling booths

Osun: INEC tackles vote-buying, bars phones at polling booths

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Femi Makinde and Olaleye Aluko

The Resident Electoral Commissioner in Osun State, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, has said the Independent National Electoral Commission, in collaboration with security agents, will do everything to prevent vote-buying during the September 22 governorship election in the state.

The REC, who said this in Osogbo on Thursday,   at a meeting held with the governorship candidates, their running mates and party officials as part of the preparations of the commission ahead of the poll, stressed that voters would not be allowed to use telephones to take photographs of their ballots.

According to him, some voters have been using cameras to take photographs of their ballots and show the same photos to politicians to be paid for voting for them.

Agbaje, who was the REC that conducted the August 2014 governorship election in the state before he was transferred to Ondo State and brought back again,  said the INEC was determined to conduct a transparent and violence-free election in Osun State and needed the cooperation of all stakeholders to achieve this.

He said vote-buying was an electoral offence and stated that this emerging trend of electoral fraud would be stopped but stated further that doing so required the support of all stakeholders and security agents.

Agbaje said, “We won’t allow people to go to the polling booths with their mobile telephone. There won’t be anything to show that this is who they cast their votes for if we don’t allow them to use phones.  We have security agents and they will not allow anybody to use phones in the polling booths. You will see our other plans to curb this during the election.

“They said it was ‘vote and cook soup’ during the Ondo election but they have changed it to ‘vote and buy land ‘ in Osun. We won’t allow this here. If you want to buy land, it won’t be from the money you will make during this election. You will need to look for other means to source money to buy the land.

“That is why we want you, all candidates, and party leaders to talk to your people to stop this. If you see anybody giving money out to people during the election, alert the security agents.”

The REC warned all the candidates in the election against coming around to see him or any of the workers of the commission because they would be embarrassed if they tried it.

The REC said further, “If you see any INEC official doing what they should not do, call me on the telephone and if you see the administrative secretary or me doing what we are not supposed to do, call my chairman in Abuja.”

Meanwhile, the Police Service Commission has said it is prepared to monitor the conduct of policemen that will be deployed for the forthcoming Osun State governorship election and the 2019 general elections to ensure adherence to professionalism.

The PSC Chairman, Alhaji Musiliu Smith, said this on Thursday in Abuja, when he received the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, in his office, noting that the commission was worried about the negative public image of the police.

A statement by the PSC’s Head of Press and Public Relations, Ikechukwu Ani, quoted the chairman as saying that there was a need for the commission and the police to work closely so as to quickly put structures in place to reposition the Force.

“The chairman called for closer supervision in the police to ensure that officers work within the dictates of the law. He recommended the setting up of the IG Monitoring team specifically for checking the conduct of police personnel especially those working on the nation’s highways to ensure they work as expected of them.”

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